Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Intel and Ford join forces on connected cars research

Iain Morris
July 3, 2014
US chipmaker Intel has unveiled details of a research project with carmaker Ford to explore new applications for in-vehicle cameras based on the use of data generated by existing vehicle sensors.

The companies say the applications could enhance the in-vehicle experience for drivers and passengers, using facial recognition software to offer security and a more personalized in-vehicle experience.

The technology would also allow drivers to remotely access vehicles by means of a mobile phone app, allowing them to check on belongings left inside or authorize another driver to operate the vehicle.

The project – called Mobile Interior Imaging, or Project Mobii – looks to integrate interior-facing cameras with sensor technology and data already generated within and around the vehicle.

The aim, says Intel (Santa Clara, CA, USA), is to create a more personalized and seamless interaction between driver and vehicle that “transforms the driving experience”.

Research on Mobii has involved a team of Intel ethnographers, anthropologists and engineers working alongside Ford research engineers, according to the companies.

“Our goal with the Mobii research is to explore how drivers interact with technology in the car and how we can then make that interaction more intuitive and predictive,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president of Ford Research and Innovation. “The use of interior imaging is purely research at this point; however, the insights we’ve gained will help us shape the customer experience in the long term.”

Ford (Detroit, MI, USA) is already making use of exterior vehicle cameras for driver-assist features like lane-keeping assist and lane departure warning, but says Mobii will support the development of applications in areas such as driver authentication.

Facial recognition software would allow cars to identify different drivers and make automatic adjustments to vehicle features, for instance, based on an individual’s preferences.

If the driver is not recognized, the system could be set up to send a photo to the primary vehicle owner’s smartphone, allowing him or her to set permissions and specify features that should be enabled or disabled.

A combination of gestures and simple voice commands could also be used to perform tasks such as turning the heat up and down or opening and closing a sunroof while driving.

“As a trusted technology leader and innovator, Intel understands the challenges automakers are facing and is a committed partner in this unprecedented opportunity,” said Doug Davis, the vice president of Intel’s Internet of Things Group. “Project Mobii is a great example of Intel collaborating with Ford to help enable a secure, more connected driving experience.”
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